Last week, I went over the top players from our local girls basketball teams in the Woodburn Independent's coverage area. This week, I want to highlight the boys.
In contrast to last week's team, the boys basketball teams in northern Marion County are dominated by talent from this year's class of 2017.
I suppose that's partly due to the way young men mature slightly later in their teenage years than their female peers, but it's also just the ebb and flow of how talent comes into programs over the years.
This year's senior class is one of the most concentrated collections of basketball talent I've seen in the four years I have been writing this column. Of the 12 guys listed here, nine will graduate in the spring, which of course means that there will be a lot of new faces on this team next year.
As always, I welcome feedback. Let me know what you think and if I missed the mark on any of my selections.
Bishop Mitchell, Sr. — Kennedy
Mitchell is almost always the best athlete whenever he walks onto the court. The senior guard is able to use his quick lateral movement and crafty hesitation to get to the basket almost at will, where he is able to pull up for floaters, draw fouls or dump it off to teammates. He's not too shabby as a defender and 3-point shooter either.
Luis Salazar, Sr. — Woodburn
Woodburn's senior guard has blossomed into one of the top two-way players in the Mid-Willamette Conference over the past two years. Salazar is a solid on-ball defender who is capable of generating a lot of turnovers, and offensively is a great slasher with range all the way out to the 3-point line.
Andy Ellingson, Sr. — Woodburn
While the Bulldogs may lack size, Ellingson helps make up for it by playing well above his listed height of 6-foot-3. Ellingson is the type of high-energy hustle player that makes teams successful. He's able to box out bigger players and pull down rebounds seemingly at will. On defense, he's quick to double-team and chase down loose balls or errant passes, making him a nightmare for opponents to play against.
Tanner Scanlan, Sr. — North Marion
The single-best offensive threat on this team, Scanlan can score from anywhere on the court at any time. His height and quick release allows him to get his 3-point shot off against almost any defender, and he is deadly from long range, able to knock down three or four triples in a quarter. Over the years, he's added a strong inside game as well, where he's able to get to the foul line multiple times a game, putting opponents in foul trouble while picking up easy points along the way.
Hunter Martin, Sr. — North Marion
Just a solid all-around post in every aspect. Martin is able to affect the game in so many ways without being a dominant scorer. His size and ability to handle the ball makes him a fantastic player to run the offense, where he's able to find teammates for open shots or connect with ones slashing to the basket. When he's called upon, he can score as well and has a capable jumper out to the 3-point line. On defense, his long arms and excellent instincts allow him to disrupt opposing teams, looming as an ever-dangerous shot blocker.
T.J. Doman, Sr. — Woodburn
An extremely talented "3-and-D" forward who takes advantage of his long arms with his amazing instincts as a shot blocker. His length also allows him to get his shot up against most opponents, and he is one of the best shooters from beyond the arc on the Bulldogs.
Elvis Vallejo, So. — Gervais
An emerging offensive force this season, Vallejo should give the Cougars a solid presence on the wing for the next few years. His drive and ability to score makes him a difficult player to guard against, as he is able to use his speed and length to drive to the basket and challenge teams at the rim.
Derrick Jaramillo, Sr. — Gervais
Another undersized-but-effective post player in the mold of Ellingson, Jaramillo has a nose for the ball that he puts to good use under the basket as an effective defender and rebounder. On offense, the Gervais senior has a solid game and good footwork in the paint, where he can score with a variety of moves inside 15 feet.
Campbell Smith, Jr. — St. Paul
A Swiss Army Knife type of player, Smith is dangerous from anywhere on the court. His size, speed and footwork make him a dangerous scorer in the post. But he's also adept at starting the offense from the 3-point line as a triple threat option to shoot, pass or drive to the basket.
Trevor Ensign, Jr. — North Marion
In the span of two years, Ensign has grown by leaps and bounds to become one of the better offensive options in the paint in the Oregon West. The lengthy 6-foot-7 junior takes full advantage of his size by adding strong footwork around the basket to be an efficient scorer in the paint.
Brett Traeger, Sr. — Kennedy
A great combination of size, strength and ability at the guard position, Traeger is dangerous in a variety of ways for the Trojans. His motor on offense and defense helps lead to quick transition buckets, where he drives to the basket with relative ease. Combined with a strong game from 3-point range, Traeger's is a threat from anywhere on the court.
Emorej Lynk, Fr. — Kennedy
After starting the season on the bench, Lynk has grown into an incredibly efficient scorer inside the 3-point line. The freshman wing has a physical stature and basketball IQ that is not typically seen in a player so young, and he is able to use both to drive to the basket, score from inside and pick up easy points at the free throw line.